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BLACKFISHDirected by Gabriela Cowperthwaite2013 USA 83 minTEACHER’S GUIDEThis guide has been designed to help teachers and students enrich their experience of BLACKFISHby providing support in the form of questions and activities. There are a range of questions that willhelp teachers frame discussions with their class, activities for before, during and after viewing thefilm, and some weblinks that provide starting points for further research or discussion.The FilmThe FilmmakerDirector Gabriela Cowperthwaite began investigatingthe death of a trainer who was dragged to herdeath during a “Dine with Shamu” show at SeaWorld.She soon found the initial story gave way to a farmore shocking and further-reaching situation thatplumbed the depths of a billion-dollar industry. A killerwhale linked to three trainer deaths over two decades,Tilikum is the backbone of the story presented inBlackfish. However, Cowperthwaite discovered itwasn’t just this particular whale—there have beenmultiple cases of orca attacks on trainers in parksaround the world, although never in the wild. Featuringtestimonies from experts and trainers, and withnever-before-seen footage, Blackfish artfully andpowerfully explores the complex relationship we havewith entertainment and nature, and the repercussionsof keeping these sensitive and intelligent creaturesin captivity. Charlotte CookGabriela Cowperthwaite is a documentary filmmakerwho for more than 12 years has directed, producedand written a variety of real-life stories, includingBlackfish, a feature documentary currently selected forthe 2013 Sundance Film Festival.Source: http://www.hotdocs.caShe has directed, written and produced for ESPN,National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery andHistory Channel. Cowperthwaite also directed,produced and wrote City Lax: An Urban LacrosseStory. The film, for which Cowperthwaite wasimmersed in the inner-city for eight months, chroniclesthe lives of six 12-year-olds as they and their familiesstruggle through middle school in their gang-riddenneighbourhoods. After winning multiple AudienceAwards on the festival circuit, the film was acquiredby ESPN and DirectTV.In 2009, Cowperthwaite completed a medical film forUCLA International Medicine in conjunction withthe International Rescue Committee, teaching doctorsin Darfur, Sierra Leone, Thailand and Pakistan,clinical management of assault. The film focuses onclinics in war-torn regions, with the emphasis onproviding ground-breaking medical care for victims ofviolence. It is being translated into three differentlanguages and will be distributed in eight countries.She is currently directing a campaign for Supply andDemand, a commercial directing agency based inNew York and Los Angeles.Source: package written and compiled byDimitra Tsanos ([email protected])

VIEWING THE FILM WITH STUDENTSThere are important themes in this film that have broad implications for students and their futures.Take time to activate your students’ background understanding of these themes before viewing. Thiswill help them as they come to their own understanding and develop their critical abilities.The following three subsections are intended to provide you with a range of pre-viewing, viewingand post-viewing activities. They are followed by a page of weblinks for further investigation, somefollow-up questions and quotations, and sample curricular outcomes.Pre-Viewing ActivitiesShow students the trailer and/or poster for the filmfound on the film’s website( Have students work insmall groups to try and identify themes or ideasconveyed by the trailer. As a larger group, discuss withstudents how effective/affective the trailer and movieposter are as is media pieces.Print several of the questions or quotations from theExtension Activities section of this guide on individualsheets of paper. Have students work in small groups orwith partners to discuss if they agree with the ideas.Set a purpose for viewing by having a discussion aboutone or more of the questions or quotations from theExtension Activities section of this guide. Have themshare the statement and what they think or believeabout it with the class.Have students define “animal captivity.” They can usea word organizer by dividing a box in four. In the fourboxes, have them write in each corner the following:Definition, Non-examples, Examples and Use in aSentence. Ask the class their opinions about animalcaptivity? Take it up as a class.Have a class discussion about ethics and animals.Discuss the use of animals in entertainment, such ascircuses, zoos and aquarium parks. BBC includes abrief overview on the issue in their ethics guide entertainment 1.shtml).Have a class discussion about animals in zoos andaquarium parks. Use two case studies to createconversation and provide background information.Discuss the well-being of elephants in captivity at theToronto Zoo. The Toronto Star has an article titled“Elephant Tug of War: The story of the Toronto ZooTransfer” that reviews the story. Discuss the waterissues and malpractice at Marineland in Niagara Falls,Ontario, that involves the mistreatment of their marinemammals. The Toronto Star has a featured sectiontitled “Marineland” that includes a number of articleswritten about the s/marineland.html).Viewing ActivitiesHave students jot down five ideas for discussion, orquestions that the film raised in their minds. Havestudents use a Venn diagram to compare the life of anorca in captivity to the life of an orca in the wild.Post-Viewing ActivitiesShow the students their quotations from thePre-Viewing Activity and see if their minds werechanged or opinions altered or enhanced bythe film. Assign some of the questions and quotationsfrom the Extension Activities section of this guidefor homework to be taken up the next day in class.Check for completion.Have students complete an exit note (a single smallsheet of paper with one phrase or idea written on it)that demonstrates one thing they have learned, felt ordecided as a result of watching the film.

Discuss with students their initial reactions to thevarious scenes and situations addressed in the film.Have a class discussion about the regulationsand laws protecting animals and trainers at zoosand aquariums. A CBC article titled “Ontario EyesTougher Regulations for Zoos, egulations.html)will help with the discussion.Have students conduct online research on a marinepark aquarium. Have them record their policies andregulations for their individual park. Share the findingsas a class.Have a mini class debate on whether animalsdeserve rights.Have a class debate on animal captivity in zoosand marine park aquariums. Split the class into twogroups. Assign one side as supportive on the topicand the other against the topic. Allow one day forpreparation and one day for the debate. Students willwrite a personal response on the debate, addressingboth sides of the issue and their personal opinion. Theassignment and rubric, titled Animal Captivity Debate,are found on the following pages.

WEBSITES AND ONLINE RESOURCESAbout the Filmhttp://blackfishmovie.comAdditional ResourcesBlackfish Blackfish Twitter: for Whale Research: For almost four decadesthe centre has conducted an annual photo-identificationstudy of the Southern Resident Killer Whale populationthat frequents the inland waters of Washington Stateand lower British Columbia.’s magazine: This September 8, 2010, article,“The Great Whale-in-Jail debate” by NancyMacdonald, discusses how a captive baby beluga’sdeath in Vancouver sparked soul-searching about theethics of ig-to-tank/National Geographic: The article “The Great WhiteWhale Fight” by Kenneth Brower discusses the GeorgiaAquarium’s import of Russian Beluga rgiaaquarium-capture-free-willie-narwhal/New York Times: The July 29, 2013, issue includedthe piece “Smart, Social and Erratic in Captivity” byJames martsocial-and-captive.html?pagewanted all& r 0ORCA Network: This non-profit organization,registered in Washington State, is dedicated to raisingawareness about the whales of the Pacific Northwest,and the importance of providing them healthy andsafe habitats.http://www.orcanetwork.orgPETA: The People for the Ethical Treatment ofAnimals website includes videos of their campaigns,along with other information about the abuseagainst animals.http://www.peta.orgSave the Whales: This U.S.-based NGO educateschildren and adults about marine mammals, theirenvironment and their preservation. and Dolphin Conservation (WDC): Theglobal charity is dedicated to the conservation andprotection of whales and dolphins. Links for Lesson Plan Ideas,Media Awareness, Critical Literacy andDocumentary FilmsUsing Docs in the Classroom: A teacher librarian’spersonal website where there are excellentresources for teaching with documentary films. docs in the classroom.htmMedia Awareness: A Canadian nonprofit mediaeducation and Internet literacy resource library. for Media Literacy: A U.S. websitewhich provides several resources for making,understanding and criticizing media.http://www.medialit.orgThe National Film Board of Canada: On thissite is an area with teaching resources andshort documentary films that can be used asteaching aides.http://www.nfb.caHot Docs’ Looking at Documentaries: A teachingguide that sets out questions designed to helpteachers include the study of documentary film intheir curriculum. Free PDF download. for schools monthly/resource materials

EXTENSION ACTIVITIESQuestions for Pre-Viewing orPost-Viewing ActivitiesWhat do you think the title Blackfish means? Whatdoes it actually mean? Why is this an interesting choiceas a film title?What are the required qualities to become amarine trainer?How do the trainers continue to work at the park whenthey see the conditions the animals are kept in?How do they compartmentalize their feelings?Why are the trainers and the general publicmisinformed about whales? Should trainers beresponsible in learning the career prior tomarine park training?Why is Tilikum still kept in marine parks when he’sproven to be an aggressive whale, causing liabilities tothe park and a threat to trainers?Is it a good idea to breed from an aggressive male?Will his genes be carried through to his offspring?What are the alternatives?Why do experienced trainers seem to be the ones whohave the most accidents and deaths in marine parks?What should the solution be for the improvement of thehealth of the animals? What regulations should beenforced? What should the priority be for the trainer orfor the animals or both? Explain.Why hasn’t there been any changes made in trainerprocedures in the last 20 years since the first trainerdeath occurred? What should be done?Can marine parks create an environment wherewhat happened at SeaWorld never happens againanywhere else?Do we need marine park aquariums? Why do peoplevisit them? Are they important or cruel? What arethe alternatives?Have you ever been to a marine park? Are yousurprised at what you learned about them in the film?Would you visit a marine park aquarium afterwatching the film? Why or why not?

QUOTATIONS FROM THE FILM TO EXPLORE1. “When you look into their eyes, you know someoneis home, somebody’s looking back. You form a verypersonal relationship with your animal.” John Jett,former SeaWorld trainer2. “There’s something absolutely amazing workingwith an animal. You are a team and you build arelationship together, and you both understand thegoal and you can help each other.” Mark Simmons,former SeaWorld trainer3. “If you were in a bathtub for 25 years, don’t youthink you’d get a little irritated, aggravated, maybea little psychotic?” animal activist, CNN Special4. “It’s just like kidnapping a little kid from itsmother, everybody’s watching, what can you do?It’s the worst thing I can think of, I can’t think ofanything worse than that.” John Crowe, diver,speaking about catching orcas in Puget Sound5. “When we first started, they were quite small,quite young, so they fit in there quite nicely, butthey were immobile for the most part. It didn’t feelgood, it just didn’t. And it was just wrong.” SteveHuxter, former director of Sealand, speaking aboutthe living conditions of the orcas during nonperformance hours6. “If that is true, it’s not only inhumane and I’ll tellthem so, but it probably led to what I think is apsychosis. He was on the hair trigger to kill.”Ken Balcomb, director, Centre for Whale Research,about the storage and living conditions of orcasat SeaWorld7. “I saw that there were a lot of things that weren’tright. And there was a lot of misinformationand something was amiss. And you know, you sortof compartmentalize that part of it and I did thebest that I could with the knowledge that I had totake care of the animals that were there. AndI think all the trainers there have the same thingin their heart. They’re trying to make a differencein the lives of the animals.” John Jett, formerSeaWorld trainer8. “It’s culture, you get back on the horse and you diveback in the water. And if you’re hurt, well, thenwe’ve got other people that will replace you andyou’ve come a long way. You sure you want that?”John Jett, former SeaWorld trainer9. “Anywhere along the line, it could have beenstopped because everyone knew it was a tragedywaiting to happen, but no one wanted to do anythingabout it. And in the end, it was the best trainer thatlost his life.” Suzanne Alee, former videosupervisor, Loro Parque10. “I’ve been expecting it since the second person waskilled. I’ve been expecting it, for somebody to bekilled by Tilikum. I’m surprised it took as long as itdid.” John Jett, former SeaWorld trainer11. “All whales in captivity have a bad life. They’re allemotionally destroyed; they’re all psychologicallytraumatized, so they’re a ticking time bomb. It’s notjust Tilikum.” Lori Marino, neuroscientist

CULMINATING ACTIVITY: ANIMAL CAPTIVITY DEBATEName: Date: Mark: /10 (See rubric)Circle your side:ForAgainstYour sub-topic to research:Animal captivity has become a controversial subject. Many believe that zoos and marine park aquariums serve aseducational facilities and provide the public with opportunities to learn about species they may not have been ableto learn about otherwise. As well, they can sometimes provide protective measures in terms of endangerment orrehabilitation efforts. On the other hand, some find it unnatural and feel it can hinder a species, as they live indifferent environments than they do in the wild. Some consider it cruel when these species are purposely taken fromtheir natural environments, as seen with the baby orcas in the film.You will be debating animal captivity in zoos and marine park aquariums. You are encouraged to use caseexamples brought up in the film, but should also use other case studies from your local communities.Group tasks:Outline the topics you want to bring up during the debate with a speaker list.There should be about six speakers and four rebutters for each side.Each speaker will bring their research with them to the debate.Rebutters need to predict what the other side will bring up and bring research to counter their points.1. Format of the debate: (to be presented on: )2. For animal captivity speakers: opening statement, one to two minutes each speaker (Against listens)3. Against animal captivity speakers: opening statement, one to two minutes each speaker (For listens)4. Congregate for one minute to plan for rebuttal5. For rebuttal6. Against rebuttal7. Speakers list (if you want to speak, put your hand up and the teacher will keep a running speakers list)8. Closing statements (one minute each)As a final assessment for the debate, you will use your research and your notes from the debate and type a reportof one to two double-spaced pages introducing the topic, addressing both sides of the debate and concluding withyour opinion.Due: .Make sure to attach your research for your topic to your report.

ANIMAL CAPTIVITY DEBATE RUBRICKnowledge and UnderstandingConceptsClear understandingof issues2.52.9Limited success inuse of terms andconcepts3.03.4Some success in useof terms andconcepts3.53.9Moderate success inuse of terms andconcepts4.05Employs terms andconcepts with a highdegree of success/5Thinking and InquiryResearchCollection ofInformation2.52.9Information indicateslimited research skillsand does not includesufficient research onown topic3.03.4Information indicatesmoderately effectiveresearch skills onown topic3.53.9Information indicateseffective researchskills with mostissues examinedand considered4.05Information indicatesexcellent researchskills with all issuesthoroughly examinedand considered/5ApplicationReportAccounts in writingboth sides ofthe debate as wellas a well-supportedopinion(grammar, 1-2typed pages)2.52.9Communicates inwriting with limitedeffectiveness3.03.4Communicates inwriting with someeffectiveness3.53.9Communicates inwriting withconsiderableeffectiveness4.05Communicates inwriting with a highdegree cation skillsare clear and to thepoint, well-supportedpoints; emphasis,clarity and confidenceComments:2.52.9Overall points arelimited/vague; hardto understand withvery little emphasis3.03.4Points are somewhateffective, with a fewdetails; had someconfidence in speech3.53.9Points and overallaim is clear; somepoints supported4.05Excellent suggestionsand debating skills;research is usedin speechTotal/20 /5/10

EXAMPLES OF CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONSCOURSEOVERALL EXPECTATIONSGrade 7 Geography use the geographic inquiry process to investigate the impact of natural events and/orhuman activities that change the physical environment, exploring the impact from ageographic perspective.Grade 9-12 English Developing and Organizing Content: generate, gather and organize ideas andinformation to write for an intended purpose and audience.Understanding Media Forms, Conventions and Techniques: identify some mediaforms and explain how the conventions and techniques associated with them are usedto create meaning.Understanding Media Texts: demonstrate an understanding of a variety of media texts. Grade 9 Geography analyze the ways in which natural systems interact with human systems and makepredictions about the outcomes of these interactions.Grade 9 Science investigate factors related to human activity that affect terrestrial and aquaticecosystems, and explain how they affect the sustainability of these ecosystems.Grade 11 Geography evaluate the effectiveness of programs and initiatives designed to manage and protectthe resources on which tourism is based.explain the social, environmental, cultural, economic and political effects of travel andtourism on various destination regions.analyze the social, environmental, cultural, economic and political effects of tourismrelated development on a community or region.evaluate the impact on travel and tourism of the plans, policies and initiatives ofgovernments, businesses and other organizations. Grade 11 Intro toAnthropology, Psychologyand Sociology Grade 11 Law describe the role of law in the workplace.Grade 12 Geography analyze geographic issues that arise from the impact of human activities on theenvironment in different regions of the world.explain significant short-term and long-term effects of human activity on thenatural environment.analyze and evaluate interrelationships among the environment, the economyand society.evaluate a variety of approaches to resolving environmental and resource managementconcerns on a local, regional and national scale. Grade 12 Law Grade 12 Politics Theories, Perspectives and Methodologies: demonstrate an understanding of majortheories, perspectives and research methods in psychology.Explaining Social Behaviour: use a sociological perspective to explain how diversefactors influence and shape individual and group social behaviour.evaluate the effectiveness of governments, courts and individual and collective action inprotecting the environment.analyze the legal process, legal systems and sanctions used to protect the rights of theemployer and the employee in the workplace.explain the rights and responsibilities of individual citizens, groups and states in theinternational community.The Overall Expectations listed above are from The Ontario Curriculum. Complete course descriptions, including allOverall and Specific Expectations, can be found at: tml

Blackfish, a feature documentary currently selected for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. She has directed, written and produced for ESPN, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery and History Channel. Cowperthwaite also directed, produced and wrote City Lax: An Urban Lacrosse Story. The film, for which Cowperthwaite was